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Cosplayer Syagria > Costume of Suki (Avatar: The Last Airbender)

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Avatar: The Last Airbender
Year Completed:
Construction Difficulty:
Granite State Comic Con Costume Contest: 1st Place
Costume worn at:
Anime Boston 2011
Granite State Comicon 2011
Otakon 2011
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About this Costume
Construction Details:
This was a labor of love that, in spite of 6-8 hours a night at my sewing machine (after a regular day at work) for 3 weeks straight, was so so so so so worth it. In this instance, it was a group of 4 girls, all warriors in matching garb, with me as Suki. I did about 90-95% of the work on all 4 outfits, and somehow, inexplicably, managed to keep from dissolving into a complete panicked mess as the convention date marched inexorably closer. Since I had to make 4 costumes for 4 people of varying body types, and not just one costume for me, I realized I couldn't wing this one off the cuff as I usually do. I've never formally learned to draft patterns, and half the time, I don't bother using them anymore at all, but as I've had occasion to remark before, "I've never let total ignorance of a technique prevent me from trying it." I hand-drafted patterns for the skirt, overdress, armor, gauntlets, and shoulder pauldrons, and, working in conjunction with measurements of the other 3 ladies, managed to my delight to have everything fit them all tolerably well, (in spite of springtime workouts and weight changes!). The skirt is made of wool, with the front part pieced in 4 sections to create the curved lines of the warriors' skirts. The overdress is a fairly heavy polyester satin brocade; 15 yards of it covered the 4 of us. I needed another 4 yards to make an overdress for a 5th lady who was supposed to be with us, but the fabric went on backorder over 2 months ago and still has not arrived, alas. The armor is interfaced linen backing with suede-like fabric strips to create the illusion of overlapping leather plates. Each strip is flanked by a hidden casing which contains a strip of plastic boning for structure; the armor sides under the arm each contain a length of boning for support. The armor edges are finished with black bias tape, all of which is hand-sewn in place (blissfully, my crew of warriors pitched in to help with this, as I would never have been able to finish all 16 armor skirts on my own in time!). The shoulder pauldrons are made from a crescent-shaped piece of Wonderflex and interfaced brown suedecloth. The armor is held on by leather cord laced through eyelets: 92 total per armor set, for a total of 372 (one girls' armor had 96 eyelets). I put in every single eyelet by hand with needlenose and eyelet pliers. The medallions on the gauntlets and sleeves and headbands are custom: one of the other warriors drew special designs based on the Earth Kingdom and Earth Elemental symbols and we had them laminated onto thin metal, cut and drilled for attachment. The headdresses are made from Wonderflex and the medallions; the tassels came from a length of upholstery trim. The makeup is Mehron Starblend in white and red, accented with black liquid eyeliner, and made me feel like Eric Carr while I was putting it on. Since real metal war fans are expensive ($40 - $60 a piece) and generally frowned upon in conventions as they are, after all, weapons, we purchased plastic dancer's fans online for $9 each. Much lighter to carry, won't get us in trouble, and they still make a great noise when we snap them open. When all four of us snapped them in unison, they made a terrific noise. All told, I think I spent somewhere upwards of 300-350 hours working on these costumes, by my best estimate.
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